-10, and a lifestyle change

Well, would you look at that?
I’ve gone and dropped 10 pounds since January 6.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve dropped this kind of weight, and I’m not gonna lie.
It feels good, real good.

I wore a pair of dress pants yesterday that, when last worn way back in the summer, were uncomfortably tight.
Yesterday, though, they were slightly baggy.

We’ve mixed up our eating habits per the fella’s nutritionist, which means no more starches at dinner for the time being, so we’ve been filling up on lots of vegetables instead, which has been quite delicious.

I’ve been mad-craving wine lately, so I texted the fella and asked if I should chill a bottle to accompany tonight’s orange-ginger salmon and spinach. “It’s up to you,” he replied.

I thought about it for a second and remembered the little heart-shaped Snickers that I didn’t eat from Valentine’s Day.
It wasn’t so long ago we’d share a bottle and have a much bigger, much worse dessert than the 70-calorie sugar-free chocolate pudding cup we now have while watching our “stories” at night.

I'll take the one on the right tonight, thanks. (Getty Images photo)

I’ll take the one on the right, tonight, thanks. (Getty Images photo)

“I think I’d rather dessert,” I texted back.

And just like that, I realized we were balls deep in a lifestyle change we were actually sticking to for the very first time.

Of course, I could have a glass — or two — of wine if I damn well pleased, but I like that I’m finally willing to restrain myself, to say, “Either … or …” before making a decision to eat something, to think about if it’s really the best thing for me to eat right now.

I’ll see you at the next 10, wine, and we’ll celebrate together.



mfpWell, it’s been a little more than two weeks since I started being a regular checker-in on My Fitness Pal, working on stopping my emotional eating (which has been a very difficult task what with some crazy amounts of stress lately) and finally, finally, finally thinking before eating.

I’m nowhere close to being out of the woods, but I’m of to a good start, especially after stepping on the scale yesterday morning and seeing the number five pounds lower than it was last week.

Yep, I’m five pounds down, and hopefully this is one downward spiral that’ll continue until I get back to the weight where I was most happy with myself.

I’ll never be 130 pounds, sadly, but I know where I’ll feel comfortable, and like “G.I. Joe” always said, “knowing is half the battle.”




My pal and My Fitness Pal

fitnesspalOne of my dearest friends whom I’ll call … Tiffany … has long been the one I call or text when I’m feeling super down about myself. We talk other times as well, mind you, but we both know the other will listen unconditionally and help give us the push we need to get back on track when we’ve gotten off track.

Tiff’s always been there to offer up any tips she’s learned along the way or to wager a friendly challenge, such as the one we just started today. We’re going to keep track a food diary via My Fitness Pal, and I think we’re both going to try to give up (as much as possible) a beloved food we’ve often bonded over: Cheese.

Today I logged back into the app for the first time in God knows how long, saw a bunch of comments from my brother playfully yelling at me for being MIA, and vowed to make checking in on it a daily habit, like my obsession with my beloved Instagram, which just so happens to be right next to MFP on my phone.

I vow to be honest and smart about the food I eat, and to become that healthier version of myself I know I can be.
And when Tiffany and I meet at the end of next month at another dear friend’s baby shower, we’ll raise a toast to ourselves at how good we’ve been, how much better we feel, how we can always count on each other for support and how we’re just getting started.

Let’s do this!


An eye-opening experience, or what *finally* clicked

I’ve been pretty open about how low I’ve been feeling about myself, but Saturday, which truly was a spectacular day in our beloved New York City, was just as much an all-time low for me.

For my birthday last month, the fella got me tickets to see “Roger Waters: The Wall Live.” Pink Floyd is my No. 2 favorite band, so this was a big deal for me to see. We decided to spend the night in our favorite city and got an early check in, so we had all day prior to the show to wander the streets snapping pics, lunching at our favorite restaurant, treating ourselves to Pinkberry and got to meander through a multi-block street market.

Aside from the high temp, it was a great day and an even better night because the show was fantastic. Afterward, we took the subway back downtown and had a late-night dinner before making our way back to the hotel.

Since it was such a super-hot day, the kind that melts you inside and out, I wore what any normal gal would wear on such a day/night: A summery tank top and a flowy skirt.

Sure, both were sensible for the weather, but for my legs, not so much. By the end of the day, during which we must have hoofed it 100+ blocks, my thighs were chafed beyond belief.

And you can bet your bottom dollar that I am embarrassed as hell to admit that because it makes me sick about myself and how far from my goals I’ve let myself get. And it finally, finally, finally made me so sick and disappointed in myself enough to say: “Enough is enough.”

I don’t want to be this person anymore. I don’t want to keep derailing myself. And I don’t want to look like this in pictures anymore.

Let’s consider this recent beachy photo my ‘before,’ shall we?

Aside from how I feel about myself, I feel so damn lucky to have a great and loving fella and family, fantastic friends and a job I am passionate about – now, it’s time to take back myself … from myself.

And starting on Sunday, that is just what I did.

– I got home from the city and took a long, brisk walk.
– Monday I ate healthy, and the fella and I clocked a three-mile walk.
– Yesterday, I ate even more healthy, and we logged four miles.
– Tonight, I took a solo two miler after a date with my mom.
– And tomorrow I’m taking a new fitness class that I’m writing about in next week’s issue, something I’m very excited about.

Plus, I’ve already mentally scheduled my workouts for Friday, Saturday and Sunday – and I’m actually looking forward to them – and made a return to My Fitness Pal, which I find as helpful as always.

In just these few days, I feel better about myself, empowered and ready to kick my own ass.

As an added incentive to myself, I have made the life (and body)-changing decision to treat myself to my very first tattoo when I reach the 25-pounds-lost weight. It’s been on my mind a lot lately, especially now that I’ve realized what My Perfect Tattoo is, and I’m looking forward to it.

I hate that it took something so embarrassing to me to get me to this mentally ready phase, but I really am glad that something finally just clicked.

When was your “aha” back-on-track moment? How do you keep the momentum going?


Day two vegetarian

I had this tasty little number for dinner tonight.

So after the weekend’s incredible and, seriously, unregrettable eating extravaganza, I decided that I needed to think long and hard about detoxing myself.  Especially considering the fact that today was the first day I exercised in 10 days.

I decided to finally make good on my Try to Go Vegetarian As Often As I Can resolution, and today marks the second day in a row I’ve not eaten anything with meat in it. In fact, until I started looking into it, I thought that, aside from a tiny bit of cheese on yesterday’s salad, two cheesesticks and a small amount of ranch dressing, I came thisclose to being vegan both days. Turns out Special K is not vegan, who knew?
Maybe this isn’t thisclose for real vegans, but for someone who is doing the best she can to start out, methinks that’s pretty darn close indeed.

What I ate, Monday:
– Special K with red berries and vanilla almond Silk
– Two bananas
– A salad with cheese and ranch dressing
– Tofu and mushroom stir fry and rice
– A cheesestick

What I ate, Tuesday:
– Special K with red berries and vanilla almond Silk
– A banana
– Leftover tofu and mushroom stir fry with rice
– A cheesestick
– Roasted cauliflower with green olives, chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, crushed red pepper and a smattering of fresh parsley from a recipe I saw here on one of my favorite foodie sites, Serious Eats.

Even though I got home late and was starving, just as I was last night, instead of reaching for one of my standby Lean Cuisine pizzas, I took the extra time to make this dish, and I am so glad I did. It was seriously yummy, and I feel full, but not that I-gorged-on-all-sorts-of-bad-processed-foods-like-I-often-do-on-my-late-nights full.

Notes: I didn’t use but a smidge of the garlic the recipe called for (and used minced in a jar instead of actual cloves). Next time I will definitely add more olives because they were incredible.
In fact, as much as I liked the cauliflower, I think making the dish with just the olives and chickpeas would be stellar.

What did you have for dinner?


(photo taken on my iPhone using Instagram)

Chip off the old block

It’s been three and a half months since I last wrote.
That makes me a terrible person.
A terrible person who’s wasted a lot of time when she should have been taking care of herself, when she should have been getting in shape.

But alas, I did not. And alas the scale’s done nothing but go up over the past several months – but not these past two weeks.

These past two weeks it’s gone down. By four pounds – not a lot, but enough to make me feel proud of myself – finally.

Two weeks ago, I finally got my shit together. I went back to MyFitnessPal, started getting up at 6:10 a.m. every day to use my Air Climber, do yoga, Pilates or walk, began watching what I eat in earnest and found myself starting to feel better. At last.

The biggest challenge has been eating, natch, but I have been doing OK during the week, but kind of blowing it come weekends because the family’s here, which means it’s a happy time in these parts. But this weekend, I did well – I stayed mindful of what I ate and stuck with MFP.

And today, I took to the oven, a contraption that is still quite foreign to me.
In June, I received “My Father’s Daughter,” the cookbook by Gwyneth Paltrow, for my birthday. I’ve thumbed through it ever since, enjoying her little lead ins to each recipe and how effortless she made it, though I know there are many recipes in the book I will never even attempt.

But the kale chips, those were easy.

Gwyneth makes the chips – nothing more than a big bunch of kale with stems removed, tossed with olive oil and dusted with some sea salt and baked for 12-15 minutes – and said that her kids gobble them up like real chips.

As a lover of the salty/crunchy bad-for-diet taters, I decided to give kale trips a whirl and was surprised how easy they were to make – and eat when they were done.
Though I did over salt just a smidge, whoops.

The best part?
I thought I was eating something bad because they were so crunchy and good, but I sure wasn’t! I’m a convert!

Kale chips, my first attempt at one of Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipes.


Meet my little fitness friend

Sometimes, it’s not enough that I truly love boot camp.
Especially considering that I love food even more than the class, so that sometimes – more often than not, really – cancels out the good I do with my fellow campers.

And – watch out for falling excuses – with summer being my busiest season at work, it’s been hard to make the three-times-a-week vow I made to myself all those weeks ago.  

But still I trudge, still I attend, still I make sure that I do my Air Climber as many mornings as I possibly can and go to boot camp when my schedule allows, which will hopefully be more often as concert season winds down.

So to help me keep myself in check, I enlisted in some help from a handy-dandy little app on my iPhone: My Fitness Pal.

Basically, MFP is a social-media site for dieters. I use it as a food diary, which tracks how many calories I eat, something that I’ve really never done and also to keep a record of my workouts to tally the calories I burn, etc.
I’m amazed at how many foods MFP has in its arsenal, I’ve yet to find something that didn’t register.  

As someone who’s always kept a journal and takes very easily to keeping a food diary, keeping MFP updated has become second nature. I love that it puts out status updates like
“nikkimm33 completed her food and exercise diary for 07/06/2011 and was under her calorie goal” or “nikkimm33 burned 1236 calories doing 80 minutes of cardio exercises.”

But I definitely didn’t like the one I got Monday:
“nikkimm33 has not logged in for 3 days.”

For a few months, I just saw my own updates, but some of my coworkers have recently joined MFP, so it’s nice to see updates from their fitness endeavors, and honestly, be challenged by them as well to keep doing my thing.

Do you use My Fitness Pal? I’m nikkimm33, as you might have gathered by now.  
Let’s be friends, and inspire each other to get to our fit, happy places!


Accomplishing April

While I got a bit derailed at the end of the month due to a family death and a very bad chest cold, I’m declaring the month of April a success.

How so?

Because of April’s 30 days, I was active for an impressive (for me) 17.
Though it’s only half plus two, it still constitutes “more than half,” right? (Here’s hoping).

A (blurry) photo of the month of April from my exercise log book.

Especially when we take into effect that March clocked in with just five of 31 – and three of them weren’t workouts, they were moving, which was technically a gruelling workout in and of itself, but you catch my drift. 

While my exercise days in April ranged from just doing the quick, travel-version of Windsor Pilates to the several bust-my-ass boot camp days, the point is, I did something. For 17 days. And aside from the last week of the month where I didn’t do anything but blow my noise and cough, which should really be an exercise for how it hurt my back after a few days, there were only a few days time in between my workouts, instead of the lapses I’ve been known to have.

And over our Easter mini-break, I made sure to take some vigorous walks through the monstrous hills of the Long Island community we spent the weekend – and made sure to notate my foods in my food diary app.

If that isn’t success, I don’t know what is.
But wait until May, self. We’ve got to outdo ourself.


Ciao, first five!

Well, today marks a week since I started keeping the Food Diary, and I’m down five pounds!

It really was an easy transition, especially since I got a lovely little black moleskin-like journal that fits perfectly in my purse so it’s always at the ready to record.

One of the things that definitely helped me was being mindful of my feelings, whether they were hungry, tired, stressed, etc. Because I took that extra moment to consider whether I was really craving that greasy option at Friendly’s or I just let too much time pass between my meals, I made the right choices by going with one of their new diet-friendly (and really tasty, actually) options. Find out more here.
They even have a low-cal sundae, too, because everyone knows you really go to Friendly’s for the ice cream!

All in all, I’m pretty happy with the past week – I didn’t get a chance to exercise as much as I would like, but I think I’m off to a great start – that might finally be the start of something that sticks.


There it was, blowin’ in the wind

It’s been a pretty rough few months that included, but is not limited to, the out-of-nowhere illness of my beloved that pretty much put the world on hold, job shit that I’m sure everyone can relate to and the pretty detrimental practice of Letting Myself Go.

While I regret – greatly – the fact that I LMG, I did so for the right reasons to take care of my aforementioned beloved through the past few months because 1. It’s what you do when something like that happens, and 2. It wasn’t even a question because, after all, he is my beloved.

I took on things that I never dreamed I’d do, and in turn, feel that finally at almost 34 years of age, I’m a bona fied grown up. I’m in a grown-up relationship, I’m doing grown-up things, I have a grown-up home, I have a grown-up future.

But by putting myself on the back burner, I did a disservice to myself. I know I can handle everything – and hopefully anything that gets thrown at me from here on out – but I won’t be able to if I’m not feeling good about myself or if I’m feeling sluggish because I’m carrying around extra weight.

To be a fighter, you must be in fighting form.

Today when I walked outside, it hit me.
Thought part of it might be the icy temperatures that seemed like a slap in the face after yesterday’s record-breaking 50+ degrees, but I digress.
I need to take care of me. I can take care of me while taking care of someone without feeling or being selfish. I have to take care of me now more than ever.

So as I walked to my car on this frigid, blustery day, I decided to start a food diary. It’s something that’s always worked in the past for me when I was doing Weight Watchers on my own at home to keep track of points, but now, I’m going to put into practice all those suggestions I’ve read in articles in Shape and Self.

I’m going to write everything I eat – alongside what I’m feeling when I’m eating it. I’m a chronic binger when things get crazy around me. I don’t know why, I just am. Keeping a food diary will help me reel that in, hopefully, and hopefully help me make the changes I need to make to be the best, healthiest me I can be so that I can be the best to the people I love.

As a longtime journaler, this should be an easy task for me, and I look forward to starting. Not tomorrow, but starting with today’s oatmeal and the salad and sandwich I’ll have for lunch.

Keeping such a log of what I’m eating will surely inspire me to not write things like “Housed an entire bag of chips in one sitting,” “Just ate five slices of cheese” or “Inhaled a dozen medium wings,” which I admit has definitely happened more than a few times.

Instead of binging mindlessly, a journal will allow me to think about what I’m eating and if it’s the best option. Sure, I’ll find myself at our favorite wing place on occasion, but instead of “inhaling” a delightful dozen, I’ll get six and counter it with a salad, and soon smaller portions will become second nature.

I’m dedicating time to myself everyday – be it just a stroll around the block or a kick-ass session on the Air Climber – something, anything that will get me moving, clear my head and give me a moment to focus on someone important: Me.

This way I can still be here for the people I love when they need me, and most importantly, when they don’t because really, those are the best times of all.